Friends and neighbors, I like football and baseball and I love to root for my home teams, the Ravens and Orioles. And I like to root for the University of Alabama football team, for reasons not even I understand. (But, Roll Tide!)
Now, the Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997. My father was still alive the last time they got to the playoffs, and he'll be gone 14 years this December, so losing at baseball games is something we are quite used to, even if we still don't like it very much.
The Ravens! Now that's another story! They won the Super Bowl following the 2000 season and have been in the playoffs (or at least darn close to getting there!) most years since then. They have been energized and recharged by their new coach, John Harbaugh, and their quarterback, Joe Flacco and new stars such as running back Ray Rice, and veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed provide leadership and amazing skills at their advanced ages (36 and 32, respectively!)
And we have enjoyed an intense rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers, from up the road in PA. They say that we often dislike in others what we see in them that reminds us of ourselves. People who have lived in both places will tell you, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are remarkably similar in many ways. Old industrial towns with infusions of modern technology, sort of thing. The Steelers have done very well over the years and have won a lot of Super Bowls. I will add that they seem to lack a certain degree of humility about that, but let's face it, any team with hot dogs such as Terrell Suggs (pictured) of the Ravens is not too far behind in the braggadocio race.
This past Sunday, the Steelers came to town and opened the season nicely for the Ravens, as our locals went to town on them, handing them a 35-7 beatdown. It was a tough, well-played game, with only one or two minor skirmishes among the contestants. Game over, Baltimore feels good, Pittsburgh goes home looking to get better.
It was with no small amount of displeasure that I read an email from a friend on Monday morning. She had gone to the game with her son, wearing her Steelers finery (she's from there!) and found herself the target of an egg thrown at her by some woman, apparently a Ravens rooter. Is there a place for this sort of behavior among grownups?
We have to assume that this BMore woman went to the grocery store and bought this henfruit for the single purpose of heaving eggs at people attending the game in black and yellow. There could be no other reason for having eggs with you at the stadium.
I can hear the cascade of justifications now: Maybe she went to a game in Pittsburgh and someone threw an egg at her. Maybe something happened to her somewhere along life's trail that caused her to allow the success of a professional football team to be a gauge of her own success. Somehow I doubt that she is so suffused with civic pride that the very wearing of the opposition's garment would so enrage her as to throw an egg at a fellow citizen.
Oddly ironic is that this all took place on the day of remembrance for the 9/11 victims and recognition for the survivors and rescuers. After that dark day in history, Americans came together as never before since Pearl Harbor, united in brotherhood and fellowship, vowing to allow each other to live free in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
So someone is wearing the jersey of another team. My question is, as it is so often, what's it to you?